Friday, 22 January 2021 | 22:09 WIB

Folklore Tales: The Origin of the Strait of Bali

A man is standing on a pier at the Strait of Bali (wikimedia)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Once upon a time in Bali, there lived a powerful brahmin named Sidi Mantra. Sanghyang Widya or Batara Guru gifted the brahmin treasures and a beautiful wife. After several years of marriage, the brahmin and his wife had boy named Manik Angkeran.

Manik Angkeran grew into a handsome and clever young man. However, the young man liked to gamble. He often lost when gambling, and was forced to put his parents' belongings as wagers. The young man was also not shy of taking out loans. Unable to pay the debt coming from his gambling habit, Manik Angkeran asked his father for help. Sidi Mantra fasted and prayed for the help of the gods. Suddenly, he heard a voice, "Sidi Mantra, there is a treasure guarded by a dragon named Naga Besukih in the crater of Mount Agung . Go there and ask the dragon to give you some of its treasure."

Sidi Mantra went to Mount Agung and overcame all obstacles during his travel. Arriving at the edge of the crater of Mount Agung, he sat cross-legged. As he rang the bell, he read an incantation and called the name of Naga Besukih. Not long after that, the dragon came out. After hearing of Sidi Mantra's visit to the crater, Naga Besukih stretched, and from its scales came out golds and diamonds. After saying thank you, Sidi Mantra excused himself.

After he returned home, Sidi Mantra gave the treasure he got from the dragon to Manik Angkeran, hoping that he would not gamble anymore. However, Manik Angkeran unexpectedly spent all that treasure that Sidi Mantra had given him. Not long after that, Manik Angkeran again asked his father for help. However, Sidi Mantra was disappointed and refused his son's request.

Manik Angkeran did not remain silent. He found out where his father obtained the treasure from. Not long after, Manik Angkeran knew that the treasure was obtained from Mount Agung. Manik Angkeran knew that to get there, he had to read an incantatiaon. However, he had never learned about prayers and incantations. Therefore, he just brought a bell that was stolen from his father when Sidi Mantra was sleeping.

After arriving at the crater of Mount Agung, Manik Angkeran sounded the bell. He became frightfully scared when he saw Naga Besukih. After hearing of Manik Angkeran's intention of visiting the dragon, Naga Besukih said, "I'll give you the treasure you asked for, but you have to promise to change your behavior. Do not gamble anymore. Remember the law of karma."

Manik Angkeran was amazed to see the gold, diamonds, and gems in front of him. Evil intentions then overpowered his heart. Wanting to get more treasure, Manik Angkeran slashed at the tail of Naga Besukih when the dragon turned its body to return to its nest. Manik Angkeran immediately escaped the premises in fear. However, Manik Angkeran did not know that the dragon was a very powerful creature. When the dragon licked Manik Angkeran's foot step on the ground, Manik Angkeran burned to ashes.

Seeing the death of his son, Sidi Mantra became very sad. He immediately sought after Naga Besukih and begged for his son to live again. Naga Besukih granted Sidi Mantra's request, on the condition that Sidi Mantra restore the dragon's tail back to normal. Then, using his powers, Sidi Mantra healed the dragon's tail to normal. After Manik Angkeran was revived by the dragon, Manik apologized and promised not to repeat his actions again. Sidi Mantra knew that his son had repented, but he decided that he could not live together with Manik Angkeran again.

"You have to start a new life," Sidi Mantra said. In the blink of an eye he vanished. In the place where he stood arose a source of water that grew increasingly as large as the sea. With supernatural powers, Sidi Mantra creted a line that separated him with his son. This story is the basis for the origin of the Strait of Bali, which separates the island of Bali from Java.